Amazon Web Services Outages in December

Guest blogger, Chris Bonatti, an IECA Consultant Explains What Happened

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December saw Amazon Web Services (AWS) hit by a series of three outages that have collectively been called the worst Internet-wide catastrophe in recent memory. The outages took down Amazon businesses such as Ring and Audible, disrupted Amazon deliveries, and took out AWS customers such as Netflix, Hulu, Roku, Coinbase and Slack. The minor “ripple effects” from the outage were even more widespread. Need we again stress analysis of single points of failure?

The first outage hit the AWS US-EAST-1 region on the morning of 7 December and lasted almost 7 hours. Amazon said that an automated activity to scale capacity triggered “unexpected behavior” from a large number of clients, and this resulted in a large surge of connection activity that overwhelmed the devices connecting that region to other networks. A similar brief outage hit the US-WEST-1 and US-WEST-2 regions on 15 December. A third outage again hit the US-EAST-1 region on 22 December as a result of a power failure.

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